Category Archives: life

Weekend Roundup

Weekend, Red White and Blue, 4th of July


Fri-yay! I took Lawson and Sybil for a walk this morning and it hit me. I am exhausted. By the time Friday rolls around, I need a nap. Desperately. I’m already planning on falling asleep when Sybil does tonight.


This is going to sound a little crazy, but have you heard of an allergy to exercise? On Tuesday morning I went for a run. It wasn’t long, maybe 2.5 miles, and it certainly wasn’t fast. I came home, drank a smoothie and went about my day. Soon after I started getting terrible stomach cramps. Sybil was napping, but I kept telling Lawson I didn’t feel well and asking him to rub and kiss my belly to make it feel better (that kid is just the best). An hour later my palms started itching and I immediately knew I was having an allergic reaction. It’s happened to me two other times in the past 5-6 years. Once after a similar run and the other after a hot yoga class. The itching is intense. My palms turn red and hot. Then my feet start itching too. I had to call Jim at work to pick up Benadryl and come home. Within 30 minutes of taking the Benadryl, I felt much better. I have no idea why this happens to me. Is it the time of year (I have allergies to pollen)? What I ate? Or didn’t eat? And just in case you don’t believe me, an exercise allergy is a real thing. Has this ever happened to you? Or anyone you know?


Remember my 101 in 1001 days list? I recently checked it. 10 down, 91 to go. I’ve got some work to do!


We started watching a new series this week, Red Oaks. It’s a comedy series on Amazon set in the 80’s. We’re 6 episodes in and I’ve quickly dubbed it my favorite show. Two seasons have been released and they announced a third and final season for later this year (I think). I wouldn’t be surprised if we finished season 1 this weekend. Have you watched it?  


It’s the last day to enter the giveaway with Oat Mama! Head to Instagram to enter. Good luck!


I’ve narrowed down my spring/summer clothing wish list to a pair of denim shorts (maybe 2 if I add white), a shirtdress and a pair of neutral sandals. What’s on your wish list? I’d love to help you find it!


Have a wonderful weekend, hoping soaking up the sun!



Weekend Roundup

Weekend Style


It’s officially spring, but it feels like summer here in Arizona. We took our first trip to the splash pad this week. Lawson loved it until he fell and then had more fun throwing his ball around. There’s always next time!


After a nasty stomach bug last month, Lawson caught his first cold last weekend. We missed a play date and our usual activities early in the week, which was a huge bummer. Now it’s the end of the week and we’re all a little stir crazy.


Today we’re kicking off the weekend with a lunch date and stop at Camelback Flower Shop. If you live in Phoenix, Camelback Flower Shop has “happy hour” every Friday afternoon. All of their fresh flowers are 50% off and it’s a beautiful space. Tomorrow is Earth Day. We plan to spend as much of it outside as possible.


While browsing Camelback Flower Shop’s Instagram account, I came across Outstanding in the Field. Their events sound amazing! They are coming to the Phoenix area in October and have a ton of other locations throughout the spring and summer.


Speaking of Earth Day, Grace rounded up her favorite natural beauty products in honor of the day. She knows her stuff. I’ve relied on her recommendations more than once!


Have you seen J. Crew’s new arrivals? I picked up this striped bell sleeve top in pink on a whim last week. I wore it with white jeans and my favorite wedges (similar on sale here) and loved how I felt in it. I’ve been on the hunt for a white lace or eyelet dress. This eyelet shirtdresseyelet shirtdress is currently my top contender.


Whatever your plans this weekend, make it a great one friends!



Weekend Roundup

Polka Dots, J Crew Tippi Sweater, Clare V Clutch


Happy Friday! For some reason it feels especially good to make it to this weekend. We don’t have any big plans for the Easter weekend. Tomorrow I’m shooting some outfit photos with Jessica and then taking the kids to the train park. Lawson is really into trains now. I think he’s going to love it!


Today is the last day of the Shopbop spring sale (20% off most items). I ordered a dress that has since sold out and these socks. The socks are the best no show socks I’ve found. I also had Nordstrom price match the Hunter tour rain boots. I have a pair of the original rain boots and wanted these for traveling. My favorite black distressed jeans are included in the sale too. I can finally fit into them after having Sybil!!!


After traveling last weekend, we’ve been celebrating Lawson’s birthday all week. You might have seen the video on Instagram Stories, but we got Lawson a basketball hoop. It’s a little tall for him, so he stands on a nearby chair to shoot. Watching him make a basket has been the highlight of my week!


I bought the cutest dress that is going in Sybil’s easter basket. And it’s under $20! Dressing little girls is definitely fun.


Whatever you’re up to, have a great weekend!

A Life Well Lived

Grandmother's Eulogy



It’s been a week since my grandmother passed away. It’s strange how a week can seem so long, but yet pass so quickly. We spent last weekend in Minnesota celebrating her life.


I was honored to give my grandmother’s eulogy at her service. She was fun, tough and smart. I’m grateful Lawson was able to meet her a few times. I’ll always regret that she didn’t meet Sybil, but I’m comforted by a story my aunt told me last weekend. She said my grandmother loved Sybil’s name. She had a friend named Sybil when she was young and called her Sybie. We do the same. I love knowing my grandmother thought of her as Sybie too. Is it weird to miss someone you only saw once a year?


Bernice Zelenka

Hi, I am Erica Kartak, one of Bernice’s nine grandchildren and mother of two of her 16 great-grandchildren.


When I think of my grandmother, two of the first words to come to mind are strong and selfless. She exhibited these characteristics throughout her life.


Born on a farm in Lonsdale in 1925, Bernice was confronted with some of the toughest moments in our nation’s history early in her life. When recalling the difficulties of living through the Great Depression though, she said it wasn’t much different than other years. Her family was already used to working hard on the farm, growing their own food and making clothes.


Farm life isn’t easy and there wasn’t any task that she didn’t help with. She worked from sun up to sun down: growing fruits and vegetables in the garden, cooking meals, assisting in the field, washing clothes. The list is endless. It must have been exhausting. And yet she never complained.


She would continue to live on a farm her entire life. After meeting at a local dance hall, at the age of 19 she married my grandfather and moved to the Zelenka family farm where she spent the next 73 years!


Bernice gave birth to her first child, a son, in 1945. Robert was born with a spinal cord deformity and passed away after only seven days. As a mother, I cannot imagine the heartache she must have felt losing a child. With her husband, George, she went on to have three wonderful daughters, Julie, Joan and Non. And if you know Julie, you know Bernice had to be strong to get through some of those teenage years!


My grandmother was a gifted seamstress. She made everything from potholders to everyday dresses to the wedding gowns for each of her three daughters. Every Christmas she would make a pair of pajamas for each of her great-grandchildren. Eventually that got to be too much, but she still continued to make each great-grandchild a blanket when they were born including her last great-granddaughter less than 8 months ago.


Bernice was also a remarkable cook. I’m still amazed at how she didn’t use a timer and yet never burned anything. She worked at the KC Hall for 40 years, retiring at the age of 88. She had numerous specialties, including her famous potato salad, rolls, dumplings and sauerkraut. We looked forward to her cinnamon rolls and smorum on Christmas morning. And her kolacky’s were award winning. Honestly, she won a blue ribbon at the Le Seuer county fair just 2 years ago!


Not only physically strong, her mind was exceptionally sharp (perhaps rivaled only by her husband). On one of our visits last year, we were talking about her family history. She was rattling off key dates about her great-grandparents like it was yesterday. I was so impressed with her memory! Meanwhile I have a hard time remembering my own kid’s birthdays and my oldest is two.


If you were to ask 10 people to name their favorite memory with Bernice, I guarantee at least nine of them would mention playing cards. Euchre was her game of choice. There aren’t too many people in their 80’s outside a bar waiting for it to open. But there she was, outside Miller’s and then City Club, meeting friends for cards 2 days per week up until last year. In euchre, you choose partners and I always wanted to be hers. Not only because she was a great player, but also because she was fun. When she scored an improbable trick, the grin on her face was priceless, especially when it was against my grandfather. And she was competitive! She didn’t even let her great-grandchildren win!. And I’m pretty sure I caught her giving a little peek at her neighbor’s cards a time or two!


There’s a quote I’ve seen recently about strong women. “May we know them, May we be them, May we raise them.” Grandma, I may never be as strong as you, but I am grateful to have known you and would be honored to raise my daughter to be just like you.


Selfless until the very end, some of her last words were “I just want you all to go on with your lives and enjoy it. Enjoy the best of it.” So that’s what we’ll do. For you Grandma. We love you.


photo by zack kartak